“God’s Not Dead” Movie Review

God's Not Dead

You know Chick tracts, those small Christian cartoon pamphlets used to evangelize? One pamphlet tells the story of a gallant Christian student who stands up for Christian truth in a classroom run by a dictatorial atheist. My summary is here. That tract might as well have been the first draft of the screenplay for God’s Not Dead.

The first thing to get past in this movie is that real-world plausibility is out the window. In this world, philosophy professors can bully a Christian student to renounce his faith without consequences, then demand that the student debate him in front of the class and put a large fraction of that student’s grade on the outcome.

Show me such a situation, and I’ll show you a professor who is in trouble with the college administration. Not only is that unethical, it is crying out for a lawsuit. Every atheist I know would be allied with the Christians to say that that’s way out of bounds.

Sure, Christian students can have their beliefs challenged when they go to college. I see no problem with that. But school-sanctioned humiliation of Christians doesn’t happen in the real world. Despite the long list of court cases at the end, I’ve yet to see one real example. This is simply Christians’ David and Goliath fantasy.

Let’s step through the main points of the movie.

Atheist journalist gets cancer

A liberal atheist journalist discovers that she has cancer, and as a result she’s immediately dumped by her rich go-getter boyfriend. Then we see her talking with the doctor about her MRI results. The doctor asks if she has anyone that she’d like to be there with her. But no, she has no one. She’s alone and afraid.

At the end, she barges in on the Christian rock group about to play at a concert (that’s her journalistic style), and we realize that God pushed her to do that. Then they have a good pray.

But there was no mention of the helpful elephant in the room: science. That is, medicine, MRIs, surgery, chemotherapy, and all that. Yes, that’s coldly clinical, and a warm and loving friend would be a comfort, but science is the only thing that will actually, y’know, do anything about the problem. Even the prayer at the end was intended to do nothing more than encourage God to support her through the treatment.

Muslim tensions

Ayisha wears a niqab so that only her eyes are showing, or at least she does until her father drives away. You see, she’s become a Christian in the previous year. When her father finds out, he beats her and throws her out of the house. He’s torn apart by his misguided devotion to a ridiculous faith, and he collapses in tears.

Yes, that happens. Yes, it’s tragic. But why show it happening in a Muslim family when there are so many more Christian families in America broken up over religion? If the point is that religion can make you do crazy things, a Christian example would be far more relevant.

Apologetics

There are other subplots to critique (and if you want more of a plot summary, I recommend the Geek Goes Rogue review), but I’d rather focus on the apologetics arguments. I’ll use David to refer to our plucky student and Goliath to refer to the dictatorial professor.

No one can prove God? Well, no one can disprove God, either! True, but that’s not how we make conclusions. We don’t believe in Bigfoot or unicorns because their nonexistence hasn’t been proven; rather, we follow the evidence. The evidence points to no Bigfoot, no unicorns, and no God. Let’s be open-minded enough to consider new contradicting evidence if it comes in, but for now, we have no justification for belief.

You want an explanation for the Big Bang? Look to Genesis: “Let there be light.” (Despite being unprepared for this challenge, David has unaccountably awesome presentations.) No new science has come from the Bible. You can try to show that, now that we know how things work thanks to science, the Bible was sort of pointing in the right direction (it wasn’t), but let’s not pretend that the truth was right there in the Bible all along.

Atheists say that the universe came from nothing, and they must defend that. First, it’s scientists who do the saying (not atheists), and second, no they don’t say that the universe came from nothing. Maybe it did, but the jury is out.

There’s nothing embarrassing or unreasonable in science saying, “We don’t know.” That’s how we focus on new questions to answer. Science not knowing something gives no grounds for the Christian to jump in and say, “But I do!!” Finally, note that any cosmological argument is a deist argument. Even if we accepted it, we’re a long way from Christianity.

Atheists ask, Who created God? but God was uncreated! Backatcha, atheists! You don’t respond to a scientific question with a theological claim. “My religion says that God was uncreated” is no answer in the real world.

“But who created God?” is a reasonable question. More here.

Both Christians and atheists must explain how the universe started. Wrong again. Science always has unanswered questions. That’s no evidence in favor of Christianity. Science has explained much in the real world; Christianity has explained nothing. Weigh the evidence and choose the best explanation.

What about the sudden arrival of animal species? The Bible nicely explains it: “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” More theology in place of science. No, science doesn’t come from the Bible.

Note that Goliath made none of these rebuttals. He does little besides mock, and destroying David has become a personal mission. In one brief attempt at holding up his end of the debate, he quotes Stephen Hawking: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”

This is just an Argument from Authority. Hawking is a smart guy, but just because he said it doesn’t make it true. This is a data point, nothing more. But does David point this out? Nope, since he wants to respond with his own Argument from Authority by bringing up John Lennox. (I’ve responded to Lennox’s embarrassingly shallow apologetics here.)

In the end, David hammers Goliath with, “Why do you hate God?” And then it comes out, in front of his class: it’s because God killed his mother. As a 12-year-old, little Goliath had prayed to God to cure his mother’s cancer. God didn’t, and he’s held a grudge ever since. So, it turns out that Goliath actually does believe; he’s just mad at God.

The students then stand, one by one, to render their unanimous verdict: “God’s not dead.” The professor walks out, humiliated.

Marketing God? Or marketing the movie?

Our Christians celebrate at the concert at the end. David’s noble battle is publicly acknowledged, and everyone at the concert is encouraged to text “God’s Not Dead” to all their friends. (Wait a minute—isn’t that also the name of a Christian movie?) And, of course, we in the real audience are next encouraged to tell all our friends that “God’s Not Dead.”

If the flabby arguments in the movie are any evidence, however, there is scant reason to think so. This movie is nothing but persecution porn.

The Almighty deserves better advocacy
than he gets in this typically ham-fisted

Christian campus melodrama.
Scott Foundas critique of the movie in Variety

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 3/25/14.)

 

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  • watcher_b

    I was shocked at how obtuse the movie was.

    Don’t ALL evangelical colleges make teachers and students sign statements of faith before coming to the school?

    And the Muslim dad’s whole speech about protecting the purity of his daughter was like it was lifted right out of every sermon I’ve ever heard from Christian pastors growing up.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, it would’ve made much more sense in an American context to show a Christian father kicking out his gay son or atheist daughter. That’s a way bigger problem than the equivalent in an American Muslim household.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        My thoughts exactly. The streets of ‘murika are filled with gay,trans, atheist kids kicked out of homes for not believing in mom and/or dad’s pet deity or breaking one of the rules that diety just happened to hand down that mom and/or dad totes agree with. You shall not like people of same sex, you shall only go to my church, you must believe in my god, don’t you DARE date a black boy/girl. etc etc.

        • Benjamin Muller

          I didn’t get kicked into the streets for not believing, but I did get beat pretty bad in public once for refusing to go to church. I wanted to be with my girlfriend, rather than listen to some guy tell me how much he loves some guy named Jesus, and how I have to love that same guy named Jesus too. It just had too many homosexual undertones to it. I was hot for my girlfriend, not some guy named Jesus. I still don’t understand how people who were against homosexuality could punish me for that, it’s a mixed message at best.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          AYUP, hangs around with 12 guys and the ONLY girl in the club is a whore… Thats ‘christian morals’ for ya.

    • Joe

      Recently I’ve discovered that my distaste for the current brand of evangelical Christianity and conservative politics can be distilled down to one thing: hypocrisy.

      • watcher_b

        Every Christian I know will admit their churches are filled with hypocrites. It is part of their “we’re all sinners” shtick and that this fact doesn’t take away from the existence of Christ. But the problem is that it directly does.

        Where is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in these people’s lives? Where is the “transforming power of christ”? If the only difference between me and a Christian is that they are a hypocrite and I’m not… that means Christ failed, the Holy Spirit does nothing, or neither exist.

        I was complaining to a pastor friend of mine one time about how “political” and asshole-ish a lot of Christians are. He argued that they were “baby Christians” (this was before the bullshit of Trump being accepted as a baby Christian during the campaign) and that is why they were assholes (my words). I was just at a loss for words. In his effort to convert me, he was saying that I would accept Christ into my heart, there is a transformation by the Holy Spirit, and I would become an Asshole and spend the rest of my life trying not to be one while i am surrounded by other assholes.

        • MNb

          That’s what the story of Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden is all about, isn’t it? Whether you take it literally or metaphorically.

        • watcher_b

          I don’t follow. Which part? That the story of Adam and Eve is a story of them becoming assholes?

        • MNb

          This part.

          Gen. 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
          Aren’t you aware that according christianity Homo Sapiens is inherently evil? That’s what sin and repentance are all about. Your pastor friend nailed it.

        • watcher_b

          Ya, but according to him, the power of “Jesus” will save you from your sins and transform you to be more like “Him”. It’s a process, supposedly (although, having read a lot of historical theology, there is a lot of debate about what this process looks like. There is everything from it is a slow process to once you “accept Christ” you immediately gain the ability to never sin again). And according to him, the process begins by making you a worse person.

        • MNb

          Ah, now I see – I didn’t get that.
          Weird.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          It’s a retelling of the story of Prometheus. He brought fire to humans ans was punished for it. The serpent brought moral awareness.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Where is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in these people’s lives? Where is the “transforming power of christ”? If the only difference between me and a Christian is that they are a hypocrite and I’m not… that means Christ failed, the Holy Spirit does nothing, or neither exist.

          Arguably, that’s precisely what Paul was arguing in Romans 2, right after he got all the self-righteous readers riled up in Romans 1. Here’s the knockout punch:

          You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:23–24)

          I generally find it easier to prod someone with something they ostensibly believe than with something only I believe; maybe you will as well. Here’s another:

          But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20)

          I applaud you for picking out a key aspect of what matters: my proving God’s existence to you is useless if it doesn’t lead to transforming power. If all we have are impossible-to-obey rules where you have to submit to an authority figure for ‘salvation’, suspicion should abound.

        • watcher_b

          Wait… what?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Ummm, Israel was supposed to be a light to the nations (Deut 4), showing how awesome YHWH was. Paul’s saying that via their hypocrisy, they’ve done precisely the opposite. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the most heinous insult you could offer to a Jew, at least in his time.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Turning you into something worthless in order to then convince you that they are saving you from worthlessness is the mechanism of Christianity.

          The military uses similar con games.

  • G.Shelley

    Despite being extremely impressed with himself, the arguments he uses, and the ones he can’t respond to, suggest that Professor Hercules probably didn’t take college level philosophy, let alone pass it.

    • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

      Yes, in reality an atheist professor no doubt would wipe the floor with a student, simply due to knowing more. The opposite would likely be also true.

  • RichardSRussell

    I’m waiting for the sequel, God’s Still Dead!

    • epicurus

      There is a sequel, and it’s even more ridiculous and unwatchable than the first one
      https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/gods_not_dead_2/

      • bluedragonfly02

        I watched a critique on YouTube and the one thing that blew me away was how horribly contrived it was. Like, they had to work Christian persecution in somehow, and it didn’t occur to them that the movie had to become completely unbelievable for them to do so.

        • Joe

          movie had to become completely unbelievable for them to do so.

          You realize “lack of believability” is not an obstacle to these people? It’s probably the least important thing for them in a movie.

        • bluedragonfly02

          True.

        • Greg G.

          Believing things that lack believability is proof of strong faith, which is seen as a good thing to them.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          So, there actually is prejudice against Christianity in academia (especially small-o orthodox Christianity); you can find empirical data for it in George Yancey’s Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education. One of the things Yancey found was people writing on surveys that there were “Too many Jews, not enough ovens.” Oh wait, that’s the version that’s obviously offensive. Instead, they’d write “Too many Christians, not enough lions.” Somehow that managed to not indicate a serious problem to the people saying it.

          Here’s a [secular] textbook which alleges that an anti-Christian prejudice has distorted scientific research:

              Serious defects that often stemmed from antireligious perspectives exist in many early studies of relationships between religion and psychopathology. The more modern view is that religion functions largely as a means of countering rather than contributing to psychopathology, though severe forms of unhealthy religion will probably have serious psychological and perhaps even physical consequences. (The Psychology of Religion, Fourth Edition: An Empirical Approach, 476)

          Now, it’s not like there weren’t at least some good reasons for those in the academy to dislike Christianity. One account of the overthrow of Christian hegemony is Christian Smith’s The Secular Revolution; we find for example that censorship was a big objection. But we also know that humans get carried away. (Like this movie, in spades.)

          If you want an example of irrational prejudice against Christians in the academy today, watch Neil deGrasse Tyson’s lecture to scientists (transcript), where he speaks contemptibly of Christians who “pray to a personal God”. I think he plausibly wants the number of scientists-who-are-Christian to drop to the theoretical minimum, so that one can then make intellectual war on non-scientists-who-are-Christian non-hypocritically. This, despite the fact that the only identifiable harm he can point to comes from creationists (not all Christians who “pray to a personal God” are creationists—maybe only a minority are). This matter has the potential to affect me personally, as I am married to a scientist who prays to a personal God.

          But … I watched God’s Not Dead and it did not accurately reflect any of the above. That’s problematic on many levels; I’d say a central one is that prejudice tends to be rather more subtle than the movie indicates.

        • bluedragonfly02

          Maybe you can give me some information surrounding the George Yancey finding? Was the phrase written in response to a question? What question or questions did it follow? Where was the survey given? To whom? By whom?

          Not sure why you see Neil DeGrasse Tyson telling skeptics they shouldn’t question why Christians believe they way they do until there are no scientists who are Christian and see him ‘speaking contemptibly’ and calling/wishing for an ‘intellectual war’ against Christians. Remember, there are people who make it their hobby to knock on doors and bother other people about their own brand of ‘good news’, not to mention the religious who push for laws that would force other people to live their lives by one religion’s rules. I don’t think it’s too much to ask these people why they believe in what they do.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Sorry, I no longer have the Yancey book checked out from the library. I believe there’s a video online of him speaking about it.

          As to the Tyson speech, try this thought experiment: replace “prays to a personal God” with “is a black male”, “foists religious beliefs on others” with “physically assaults others”, and “deconvert from religion” with “take a pill that turns [most] blacks white”. You’d see how bigoted it is in a heartbeat.

          I have no problem with Tyson selecting exactly those Christians who are a problem. But you can’t select them by asking, “Do you pray to a personal God?” Instead, you ask, “Do you think it is acceptable to enforce your religious views on scientific teaching?” Those are very, very different questions.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “prays to a personal God” with “is a black male”

          the second is obvious, the first (should be, per Matt 6:5-6) secret

          “foists religious beliefs on others” with “physically assaults others”

          Yep, and there’s evidence to prove that, when xtians have the power, they’ll psychologically abuse and physically harm those who refuse them

          “deconvert from religion” with “take a pill that turns [most] blacks white”

          Again, the first isn’t (or shouldn’t be) evident as it’s not an inherent personal characteristic, while the other IS an inherent personal characteristic.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Uh, Luke? I looked up that book, and given its pedigree, if it’s not pure apologetics it’d be a miracle of biblical proportions.

        • Dom Saunders

          Sigh.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/00a540da468488a25ffc413e2ace9a856c332b7006a15340495988c223695e65.gif

          Most campuses are affiliated with a faith. My undergrad was Lutheran and my grad school is Catholic. To assume that academia is some playground for secular anti-theists who hate Christians is both dishonest, insulting, and plainly false. As for Tyson’s lecture to scientists, I don’t see the issue. If you are working in a field that deals in objective fact and research, the last thing you should realistically be doing is praying to a deity of your own invention, because for the rest of us, it will lead us to cast doubts on that scientist’s ability to work in their field and without religious bias. Still there is this receipt:

          http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

          Scientists are about half as likely to believe in a God as the general public. And scientists who don’t believe in a god at all barely make up half of the scientific community. There was also the confirmation of noted evangelical Christian Frances Collins who was confirmed as the director of the National Institutes of Health in 2009, despite the controversy related to his beliefs. The understanding in general is that, so long as you can divorce your religious beliefs from your work and produce actual results, no one will give a damn whether you believe in god or the tooth fairy. But your job as a scientist isn’t to verify whether a god exists. It’s to increase our understanding of the natural world and everything in it. And noticeably, for all we do know about the world and the universe, a deity has yet to figure into it, so again, such belief has no place there. You conflate prejudice with our understandable refusal to entertain a religious person’s (or scientist’s) need for religious peen-paddling when they have actual work to do. It’s not that you can’t be openly religious and a scientist. At best, you’re expected to know the difference between a laboratory and a church and to act accordingly.

          Beyond that, yes, persecution in regard to religious beliefs tend to be more subtle and less heavy-handed than the film portrays…except for when you’re an atheist teacher, ironically:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2015/07/10/the-sequel-in-my-classroom/

          Basically, if someone is facing prejudice of any kind in this country on the grounds of religious affiliation, they are either not religious at all, and thus at the mercy of school boards manned by people who are almost all extremely and openly so, or you belong to a different, non-Christian faith altogether, as is the case with the discrimination and prejudice Muslim teachers suffer in similar circumstances even when they don’t talk about their faith.

          TL:DR Outside of token instances, by and large, Christian persecution is not really a thing in this country, especially when they are the most privileged group in the entire country who are known for using and abusing their power to disenfranchise those who either aren’t of the faith or don’t cosign to their particular tenets.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          And the fisking begins …

          To assume that academia is some playground for secular anti-theists who hate Christians is both dishonest, insulting, and plainly false.

          Eh, the days of anti-theists are probably waning; I’ll bet theism simply doesn’t pose a sufficient threat to academia to warrant intensity these days. If you want to see real anti-theism in academia, you’ll probably have to go earlier, such as what is documented in The Secular Revolution. But if you want rabid fundamentalist hatred, don’t look to me for books or articles.

          Ameliorating the “anti-theists”, you’re right: it would be “dishonest, insulting, and plainly false” if it were an assumption. Unfortunately for you, what I did was present evidence (and citations of evidence because there’s no good halfway between my combox summary and the full scientific exploration, which would not fit a combox). If you insist, I’m happy to check Yancey’s book out again from the library and put up some excerpts.

          As for Tyson’s lecture to scientists, I don’t see the issue.

          I’m sure many racists don’t see the issue, either. The question is whether you are willing to try on the other side’s viewpoint, or whether your own viewpoint is so righteous that anyone who thinks differently is necessarily wrong.

          If you are working in a field that deals in objective fact and research, the last thing you should realistically be doing is praying to a deity of your own invention …

          And if you can show any scientific evidence published in a peer-reviewed journal that “praying to a personal God” adversely affects scientific prowess, I’m all ears. Until then, you’re operating off of dogma which matches the terms ‘bigotry’ and ‘prejudice’ quite well—at least as they’re used by those who profess to be scientific and progressive. As we stand, I think “praying to a personal God” has as much effect on scientific prowess as “being black”.

          Still there is this receipt:

          http://www.pewforum.org/200

          Scientists are about half as likely to believe in a God as the general public.

          correlation ⇏ causation

          Were I to use similar statistics on proportion of blacks in science in an analogous way, I’d probably get death threats if people could figure out my identity.

          But your job as a scientist isn’t to verify whether a god exists.

          We certainly agree on that. Science at its core presupposes that God doesn’t exist and neither does agent causation; it really supposes people don’t exist. At best, we have Descartes’ biological machine (see also Enlightenment thinker Julien Offray de La Mettrie‘s 1748 Man a Machine). Those are really useful assumptions for their domains (see Ceteris Paribus Laws). Outside of their domains of validity, they royally screw us up. Hence our current global sociopolitical situation, for which scientists appear pretty much useless. Maybe that’s because we’ve swallowed lies about human nature. But for those areas where human nature is irrelevant, we have made fantastic, glorious strides.

          And noticeably, for all we do know about the world and the universe, a deity has yet to figure into it, so again, such belief has no place there.

          Yes, for all our efforts to dominate nature and humankind, God has somehow not been interested in involving himself. Let’s not consider the possibility that our love of dominating each other and nature is part of our problem. No, let us seek to better dominate. Surely that will save us! More power!

          You conflate prejudice with our understandable refusal to entertain a religious person’s (or scientist’s) need for religious peen-paddling when they have actual work to do.

          What on earth is peen-paddling and what did I say which can plausibly logically lead to me entertaining it?

          Basically, if someone is facing prejudice of any kind in this country on the grounds of religious affiliation, they are either not religious at all, and thus at the mercy of school boards manned by people who are almost all extremely and openly so, or you belong to a different, non-Christian faith altogether, as is the case with the discrimination and prejudice Muslim teachers suffer in similar circumstances even when they don’t talk about their faith.

          I see, so you simply deny that any of the evidence I pointed at could possibly exist. Even though I was very careful to (i) scope that prejudice to academia; (ii) note that the prejudice is generally much more subtle than God’s Not Dead portrays. Even though I cited a secular textbook on psychology which blatantly admits past prejudice. Oh well; every side has its true believers.

          TL:DR Outside of token instances, by and large, Christian persecution is not really a thing in this country, especially when they are the most privileged group in the entire country who are known for using and abusing their power to disenfranchise those who either aren’t of the faith or don’t cosign to their particular tenets.

          If I grant that academia’s influence is minimal, what you say would follow. And I have no problem criticizing Christians and neither does the Bible. But I suspect that academia is rather more influential than you give it credit; the time constant is simply longer than we’re used to.

        • Dom Saunders

          I will add to this long diatribe later but in short, you still have no argument or foundation to stand on. You still ignored objective facts such as the fact that anti-theists, whoever you claim them to be, have no real political power. Period. You’re essentially borrowing right wing talking points and one book to say anti religious persecution, in America no less, is a thing. You talk about correlation not being causation, yet you naturally fail to realize how that harms your entire argument. You never cited religious scientists actually being at threat for simply believing and you mainly cited the fact that religious belief is unpopular in higher academia circles. I already explained you’re taking token instances and blowing it beyond proportion. In short, if you want me to honestly believe that the main group with the most institutional power in the country is somehow under fire by secularists, many of whom, by the way, are Christians themselves, you will have to give me much more evidence than one sole text you cherry picked quotes out of. Hmm, where have I seen that before?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          … you still have no argument or foundation to stand on.

          I provided evidence and cited more evidence. If that’s not good enough for you, I think that says more about you than it does about me.

          You still ignored objective facts such as the fact that anti-theists, whoever you claim them to be, have no real political power. Period.

          I just got done saying “the days of anti-theists are probably waning”, so I don’t see what I’m ignoring. I also said “If I grant that academia’s influence is minimal, what you say would follow.” You appear to be up against a straw man. Maybe the person you’re opposing is out there, but I’m not that person. Haven’t you seen me disagree with a great deal of God’s Not Dead?

          You’re essentially borrowing right wing talking points and one book to say anti religious persecution, in America no less, is a thing.

          The evidence indicates that within academia, there is anti-religious persecution, but some reasonable definitions of ‘religious’. Do you doubt that, or do you think that there is simply “no real political power” in academia?

          You talk about correlation not being causation, yet you naturally fail to realize how that harms your entire argument. You never cited religious scientists actually being at threat for simply believing and you mainly cited the fact that religious belief is unpopular in higher academia circles.

          It appears that you have interpreted Neil deGrasse Tyson’s words very differently than I. Were I to switch “prays to a personal God” → “is a black male”, “deconvert” → “take a pill that turns black skin white”, and “foists religious beliefs on scientists” → “is violent”, I think you’d change your tune. Likewise, you probably think that “Too many Christians, not enough lions” is alright, while “Too many Jews, not enough ovens” is deeply offensive and wrong.

          In short, if you want me to honestly believe that the main group with the most institutional power in the country is somehow under fire by secularists, many of whom, by the way, are Christians themselves, you will have to give me much more evidence than one sole text you cherry picked quotes out of.

          Did I ever say I wanted you to believe anything about “the main group with the most institutional power in the country”? I don’t recall doing so.

  • epicurus

    When I was in university my professors fretted about how much material they had to cover in so little time. The idea that a prof would chuck all that out the window so they could debate and harass a student for the entire semester is absurd.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    John Lennox eh ? A windbag of such proportions as to put Harvey, Irma, Jude and now now Nate into the anemometer’s lower divisions. But then why let reality spoil a good story ? Jeez, I have a great repugnance for that smug , “once an atheist”, apologist called John Lennox.

    • epicurus

      I think Lennox and Andy Bannister went to the same school of strawman apologetics.

      • Michael Neville

        Along with Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Lennox came to speak at my local institution of higher education once. He gets mad when his shallow apologetics is questioned.

      “So you are saying that if the universe were different, then the universe would be different?”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Hard to believe a man of such learning can stoop to being such a shill. Couldn’t he at least think up some new arguments?

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    The irony is, private Christian universities do much like is alleged in this movie-make students sign a statement of faith (along with faculty). How hypocritical that they use this.

    I think that God can be disproven (well, certain concepts anyway) with incompatible properties, etc.

    • Michael Neville

      Certainly the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god the Christians claim to believe in is logically disproven by the problems of evil and suffering. But gods without one or more of those attributes just sail past those problems.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Right, that’s what I meant by “certain concepts”. However, if there’s no evidence of something, it seems fair to say it’s probably nonexistent. We do that for unicorns, why not also gods?

        • Greg G.

          Absence of evidence where there should be evidence is evidence of absence. Claims of existence with built-in excuses for the absence of evidence is evidence of pure imagination and also evidence of absence.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes, definitely agreed. That saying by Sagan is false (much as I generally like him). Perhaps evidence should be “proof” there. In any case, the null hypothesis to me is that something does not exist until you have evidence for it.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          It’s my understanding that what you are describing – not finding evidence where it would otherwise be expected to be found – is not an absence of evidence, but negative evidence.

          A true absence would be something like being shown a picture of a box and being asked if there is a cat inside.

          So the saying is accurate, it just gets applied to the wrong situations.

        • Greg G.

          Right. If I claim to have an invisible unicorn ranch in my basement, not being able to see any would not be evidence of absence. But the absence of marshmallows (aka unicorn droppings) is evidence of absence. The lack of cotton candy aroma is another clue as that is what unicorn farts smell like.

        • Kodie

          Disclaimer: If you don’t feed your invisible unicorns, you will think they don’t exist, but they do.

        • Kodie

          Well, they did.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Certainly the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god the Christians claim to believe in…

        The omni-God arose from a philosophical attempt to define what properties would be necessary to qualify a being for God-ness. Anyone who has read the Bible knows it does not apply YHWH the tribal god of the Jews as described in the Jewish scriptures or Christian Bible. There are many examples of YHWH not knowing things, being unable to do things, or being nasty.

        Also, there is vastly sufficient evidence that YHWH, the tribal god of the Jews as described in the Jewish scriptures or Christian Bible does not exist. Which means that when a Christer pulls the old “the nonexistence of God can’t be proven” dodge, they are making a bait-and-switch.

        For example, consider Paul, who offers up “God did it” as a solution to the origin of everything. Teh Bible tells us how YHWH/Elohim did it: in 6 days, creating night and day before the sun, creating whales before land mammals, re-using ribs, etc. Somehow Paul fails to mention all the details of that Bible-based scenario, or that so many of them have been sufficiently disproven.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I like disproofs of this sort. Do you want to share any?

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Well, incompatible properties as I mentioned. Also the problem of evil (I don’t think any of the theodicies cut it obviously). There is also the argument from inconsistent revelations, nonbelief, and other things. I don’t think God as usually defined is compatible with any of them.

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      Wait, if the university explicitly asks you to sign a statement of faith, then it is natural to conclude that it isn’t laying a claim to the objectivity which Professor Hercules violates. If the university in the movie had an atheistic statement of faith, then the professor’s actions would have been uninteresting.

      Don’t get me wrong—I thought the movie was terrible (and terribly revealing). But I’m not sure this is actual hypocrisy. Indeed, the idea of the movie seems to be that there is an implicit statement of [non]faith coinciding with explicit claims to neutrality. There is more than a grain of truth to that—lending the film a minimum level of plausibility—but the movie doesn’t help you understand what’s really going on.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        I don’t know whether that is their real objection. At least to me, it’s not really evident from the movie. Rather, it’s just focused on what happens to Josh. However, do you then think they would be happier with a secular university (which would have to be private, as this is illegal in public ones) making people sign statements abjuring religion before they come. I very much doubt it. Just as with the cases they cited at the end (some of which involve complaints about not being allowed to discriminate) their focus is pretty one-sided. This does not apply to all Christians, I hope you understand, but rather the kind behind such movies.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I don’t know if these specific Christians would have a problem with private secular universities requiring one to sign some code of [non]faith. If they did, that would be grounds for a charge of hypocrisy. And they may contend that many public universities have a de facto code of [non]faith, regardless of the law. It would be up to them to establish this.

        • Susan

          I don’t know if these specific Christians would have a problem with private secular universities requiring one to sign some code of [non]faith

          I would. Anyway, it’s not necessary. It’s irrelevant.

          Anyway, are you kidding me? Their strawman fantasies would finally come to fruition.

          If they did, that would be grounds for hypocrisy.

          Their hypocrisy is well-established in the strawmen they stuff to attack.

          and they may contend that many public universities have a de facto code of {non-faith]

          But they would have their work cut out for them. As they spend most of their oxygen defining and redefining “faith” as it suits them, in order to keep their supernatural claim afloat through equivocation and special pleading.

          So, let them contend it.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I can’t say with certainty, but my guess is they would. Their view, from what I can tell, is Christianity (or their version of it, rather) should be in some way established. Many don’t believe in church-state separation at all, from what I can tell. You’re right they likely do believe that about public universities. As you say, they must show this. That was not my experience going to public schools and universities-they were very deferential to people’s beliefs. Of course, I realize this is anecdotal.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          They think their version of Christianity should be established, while the liberal elite want their version of liberalism to be established. It is a proper “versus”, not an instance of a nice tolerant group nobly fighting against a dogmatic group. (To be tolerant means to be intolerant of the intolerant, which is another way of saying “intolerant of people​views we don’t like”.) So yes, both groups are trying to enforce their views on society. The point is that one group admits this is precisely what it is doing, while the other pretends it isn’t. Or at least, this is my best guess of what’s going on.

          You might consider whether the “very deferential to people’s beliefs” you observed applies merely to those who express acceptable beliefs. See FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. The trick nowadays is that when utterances might convince people to act—that is, when the pen actually is mightier than the sword—one censors disliked utterances by characterizing them as “hate speech”. But as long as you see a great variety of beliefs being expressed, you can be lulled into thinking that all beliefs can be expressed.

          I’m not defending either group, by the way. I think both should set out visions for society along with empirical predictions of what will happen as they are successively rolled out. To the extent that those predictions turn out false, one ought to question the vision. To refuse to do this is to refuse to treat citizens as full human beings. I’m inclined to blame both groups (yes, lol @ restricting to 2) for committing compensating errors, but be harsher on the group which claims divine access and power.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Well, that’s your take. I don’t know whether tolerance consists of tolerating the intolerant, at least without limitation. Some like Popper have argued this ends in the death of tolerance itself. Pluralism in regards to tolerating different beliefs (within reason) necessarily excludes ones which want only one accepted.

          I don’t know. Creationism is not considered very acceptable among liberals, yet my high school biology teacher went out of his way to say that anybody with religious objections to evolution was free to interpret what they learned in their way. He didn’t have to do that. I thought it was kind of odd, actually. They also tolerated an openly neo-Nazi skinhead. I am well aware of FIRE. There is certainly more than I’ve personally experienced. It was only to indicate that such an overt bias towards religion in public education is hardly universal (for instance, you’d never know from a film like this that most public universities in fact have religion classes). I have a problem with the concept of hate speech, since it seems to be usually defined too vaguely. Also I’m opposed to censorship generally.

          Your proposal seems like a good one. I don’t disagree that liberals can be hypocrites about this.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          What you call the ‘liberal elite’ is what is also known as The Founding Fathers of the United States. Most were freethinkers, almost none were fundy, and all embraced Enlightenment principles.

          So don’t go there.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Yeah, but they’d weasel out with, “Well, that’s not in the *classroom*!!”

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        That could be.

  • epicurus

    I watched it back in 2014 and took this picture with my iphone. They tried to get as many stereotypes on one bumper as they could on the atheist reporters car. But they missed one big one, they should have had her driving a prius or smart car etc. instead of an suv.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c96f86e7aaa3be1165573628f359a7644a39dc8afd2e41f70381f22bf9fc30a.jpg

    • Kevin K

      That doesn’t even make it past the first round of competition in my neck of the woods. And is automatically disqualified for not having the “COEXIST” sticker, which is a required element.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        And no Darwin fish?

        • Kevin K

          Most egregiously, it’s not a Subaru…

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        I still read COEXIST as CANOEIST….

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      It’s cute when Christians try to explain how atheists think.

  • Michael Neville

    Despite what the producers might claim, this movie and ones like it are pitched not to non-believers but to believers. Like all apologetics, these pieces of nonsense are meant to keep believers happy, not to make more believers out of non-believers. These movies don’t recognize the discrepancy between “real atheists” and “what fundagelicals says atheists are like”. Most atheists are not angry with God, most of us were not abused as children (I’ve seen several atheist women and men admit to having been sexually abused or raped, I’ve never seen one of them claim that as a reason for atheism), and we’re not atheists because that’s what the cool kids are doing. But the intended audience for this and similar movies don’t want to hear that.

  • Otto

    He is dead to me…

  • Benjamin Muller

    “Sure, Christian students can have their beliefs challenged when they go to college.”

    A large portion of Christians view challenging their faith as persecution. Hell, a large number of them view of being told “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” as some kind of assault on their faith. No joke.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Such people are *fun* to mess with, FWIW :-)

  • Paul

    “Show me such a situation, and I’ll show you a professor who is in trouble with the college administration.”

    Read the end credits which show real world cases that this movie is based on.

    • Otto

      I have looked at those cases and I did not see one that came anywhere close to the situation this movie portrayed.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      OK, then show me one of the real world cases in which a professor does anything like this to their students, and I’m on board with you declaring that as inappropriate.

      Got anything?

      • Paul

        Do you nit pick every detail of every movie that claims to be based on a true story or inspired by real events? Or did you just single out this movie?

        • epeeist

          Ah, so you are unable to find a real world case to show.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          WhyEVER would you think Paul had nothing to back up his assertion?

          😉

        • Greg G.

          Bob reviews lots of movies directed at Christians. Also the reactions of Christians to the movies.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There are movie review blogs at Patheos. This is an atheist blog. Were you confused? Of course I singled out this movie–it’s an apologetics movie.

          A movie that seems to claim that this is a fictional account of how things really work will get a thorough critique. This one is laughably (deliberately?) wrong. Unfortunately, that scratches a persecution porn itch that many Christians are encouraged to have.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOU are claiming it’s true, and not only that, PREVALENT.

          Put up or shut up, bucko!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Here’s another post of mine (about halfway down) that discusses the supposed mountain of cases where atheists are being mean to Christians with frivolous lawsuits.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/06/fat-chance-why-pigs-will-fly-before-ray-comfort-writes-an-honest-critique-of-atheists/

  • Paul

    “The evidence points to …no God.”

    The evidence does no such thing. One has interpret the evidence and one does so based on their worldview.

    • Michael Neville

      So how does the evidence point to a god? That’s any god, not just the Middle Eastern tribal god you’re fond of.

      • Paul

        The answer to your question can be found in the post that you responded to. But since I can’t stress this enough, I’ll repeat it: One has interpret the evidence and one does so based on their worldview.

        Facts cannot speak for themselves. Evidence can’t “point” to something. They are physically incapable of doing so. All evidence must be interpreted.

        • Halbe

          From a scientific viewpoint certain worldviews are just plain wrong when it comes to interpreting or evaluating evidence. The worldview “The God of my religion created the universe” will always lead to exactly one predetermined interpretation of the evidence, which is not at all scientific. The only valid scientific worldview to interpret the evidence is: “We don’t know how the universe came to be, let’s try to find out”.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          You say “not at all scientific”: do you mean unscientific, in the sense of going against science, or nonscientific, in the sense of being a matter to which science cannot [fully] speak? For example, science cannot determine the truth-value of “slavery is wrong”. And yet, what stance we take on that seems rather important.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Science CAN determine the truth value of “Slavery is wrong”, by showing that slavery is a violation of consent and objectively harmful to both the slave, the ‘master’, and the society they inhabit.

        • Michael Neville

          So if you accept there is a god then you can drag up some sort of evidence for its existence. If you don’t accept there is a god then there isn’t any evidence. Nope, that doesn’t work.

          If I believe my wife is in the next room then I can go into the next room and I’m given two choices, either there’s a wife there or there isn’t a wife there. Either way, there’s evidence for her presence or absence. So why are the presence or absence of gods any different from the presence or absence of wives?

        • Greg G.

          But what if your wife was the World’s Champion of Hide & Seek for the past 6000 years?

        • Joe

          But what if your wife was the World’s Champion of Hide & Seek for the past 6000 years?

          If only. I’d settle for one afternoon when the rugby is on TV.

        • Michael Rogers

          Seems to be something that doesn’t merit further consideration like the flat earth concept, There will ALWAYS be those who have beliefs that are different than others rational or otherwise. The scientific approach is to NOT KNOW things but to accept the hypothesis/ theory/belief etc to the extent that it can be empirically supported. Something that seems well supported can be crashed by new information. If jesus appeared before me I doubt that it would be sufficient for me to think he is that in the bibles but it would start me considering the possibility!~

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Something that seems well supported can be crashed by new information.

          Does that mean everything we now believe could, in theory, be wrong? If so, how would it in any way be logical for us to reason from what we currently know, to that state? My point is to question whether we really are letting everything be questioned, or whether there is some core set of beliefs—a metaphysic, if you will—which is actually presupposed from the start.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Check out Isaac Asimov’s “The Relativity of Wrong” for a good exposition on this topic.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Then, by YOUR worldview, Paul, we can let you die of diseases science can identify, prevent, and cure. After all, *your* *worldview* says that all illness is caused by impure thoughts or supernatural demons.

          Or are you going to weasel out of the obvious meaning of your worldview?

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Good point. Even if some god existed, we can be sufficiently certain that YHWH, the tribal god of the Jews, co-opted by the Christians, then the Muslims, then the Mormons, does not exist.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Huh? No one can be objective?

      Show me how an objective person would conclude that God exists.

      • Paul

        “No one can be objective?”

        When it comes to creating hypotheses about our origins, no.

        • epeeist

          When it comes to creating hypotheses about our origins, no.

          So what do you think cosmologists are basing their hypotheses on?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Show me how an objective person would conclude that God exists. Or, failing that, how you conclude.

    • MNb

      Yeah, but non-scientific interpretations can’t be tested and hence are uninteresting. Scientific interpretations can be tested and are tested. As far as your beloved creacrap can be tested it’s a total failure. As far as it can’t be tested it consists of just two fallacies.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        So Paul’s full of balloon juice?

  • Paul

    “Atheists say that the universe came from nothing, and they must defend that. First, it’s scientists who do the saying (not atheists), …”

    What if the scientist is an atheist? Wouldn’t an atheist be saying it then? What about the atheist that are inclined to agree with said scientists because it fits their worldview?

    “…and second, no they don’t say that the universe came from nothing.”

    Really?

    “In the beginning there was nothing. Absolute void, not merely empty space. There was no space, nor was there time, for this was before time. The universe was without form and void. By chance there was a fluctuation, and a set of points, emerging from nothing….From absolute nothing, absolutely without intervention, there came in to being rudimentary existence. ”
    — Peter Adkins, Creation Revisited.

    Sounds like he’s saying that the universe came from nothing. Not just nothing, but absolutely nothing. So what was it that fluctuated? What caused it to fluctuate?

    • Michael Neville

      Atheism is a statement about one particular belief which is not about the creation of the universe. Some theists try to make the statement about creation because they’re pushing a particular creation hypothesis which involves a godlike critter but atheism isn’t about creation. So it doesn’t matter if a scientist is an atheist or not. One of the earliest proponents of the Big Bang theory was Fr. Georges Lemaître, a Catholic priest. That certainly implies that the Big Bang theory is not dependent on atheism.

      Sounds like he’s saying that the universe came from nothing.

      We need to have a rigorous definition of “nothing” before we can talk about whether or not the universe came from nothing. Also quantum effects can be causeless which means they don’t require something to act on.

      • Paul

        “Also quantum effects can be causeless which means they don’t require something to act on.”

        But that doesn’t explain the existence of the quantum vacuum itself.

        • Herald Newman

          But that doesn’t explain the existence of the quantum vacuum itself.

          Perhaps the quantum vacuum is eternal, and the first cause. You probably accept that there is a “first cause”, except that your first cause is defined as God.

        • Joe

          Some things may be brute facts.

        • Michael Neville

          You haven’t given a rigorous definition of “nothing” yet, so we still can’t discuss quantum vacuum.

    • Herald Newman

      “In the beginning there was nothing. Absolute void, not merely empty space. There was no space, nor was there time, for this was before time.The universe was without form and void. By chance there was a fluctuation, and a set of points, emerging from nothing….From absolute nothing, absolutely without intervention, there came in to being rudimentary existence.”
      — Peter Adkins, Creation Revisited.

      Sounds like he’s saying that the universe came from nothing.

      Yes, he is, but he’s (or at least was) a chemist, not a physicist. Is there consensus from physicists about this?

      People are allowed to assert whatever they want, it doesn’t mean it’s correct, nor does it mean that it’s good science.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      What about the atheist that are inclined to agree with said scientists because it fits their worldview?

      They are luckier than you, who have to lie about science to support your views.

    • Joe

      What if the scientist is an atheist?

      What if they’re a theist?

      “…and second, no they don’t say that the universe came from nothing.”

      Really?

      Yes, really.

      Not just nothing, but absolutely nothing

      Whats’ the difference?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      “…and second, no they don’t say that the universe came from nothing.”
      Really?

      Show me that the consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe came from nothing.

      • Chuck Johnson

        It’s that damn Krauss book title again.
        It keeps turning up like a bad penny.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I agree with Paul that “nothing” (which needs to be defined) could have been the state prior to the Big Bang (assuming “prior” is correct in this context). His implication, however, was that “the universe came from nothing” was a conclusion universally held by scientists or atheists.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Much of the confusion seems to come from foolish ideas that Hawking has publicly promoted.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Hawking is only human, so sure, he could promote a foolish idea. But I’ve never heard one from him. What do you have in mind?

        • Chuck Johnson

          I have two in mind:
          (1) Our universe previously existed as a singularity which then inflated into our universe.
          Singularities are mathematical points, zero dimensional objects.

          (2) No time, space, matter or energy existed or could exist previous to the Big Bang.
          To accommodate this foolish notion, people have redefined “universe” as being everything after the Big Bang.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          my reading of the history of cosmology and black hole physics is different. orignally people hoped that those singularities (in black holes or the initial singularity) can be blamed on the rather ideal or special nature of the solutions in general relativity which produce those singularities and that those singularities are maybe not unavoidable. that’s why the penrose-hawking singularity theorems are interesting. those theorems show that under rather general conditions are those singularities unavoidable. they are not put in by hand, by hawking or someone else.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I see serious defects in the kind of thinking that asserts the existence of singularities as being real, physical objects.

          Singularities are zero-dimensional objects.
          Singularities do not exist in our three-dimensional universe as real objects.

          Singularities have only one characteristic: location.
          Any other type of description or characteristic of singularities is incorrect thinking. They define a location, but they can do nothing else.

          Singularities are similar to God: they are human thoughts and human inventions only.

          Singularities have no referent in the universe that we live in, they consist only of human thoughts.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          again, nobody asserts the existence of singularities out of the blue. they are a seemingly unavoidable *consequence* of general relativity, a theoretically and experimentally very successful physical theory. that’s chiefly why physicists *had to* take the idea of those singularities seriously. also, just to “wish them away” isn’t a theory, physical or otherwise. see this as a “know your enemy” kind of thing (to avoid or get rid of singularities you have to understand singularities).

          btw, whatever singularities are, they are not a part or points of “regular” spacetime, so even the notion of a “location” becomes interesting.

        • Chuck Johnson

          The link that you provided (Wikipedia) tells us that Hawking states that no singularity exists at the beginning of the universe.

          Other times, he says the opposite.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          this depends on the theory (or model), obviously: if he only talks about the general theory of relativity, a classical theory (then yes, there are singularities) or something else, including quantum physics (like his “no boundary” proposal).

        • Chuck Johnson

          This depends on the theory (or model), obviously. if he only talks about the general theory of relativity, a classical theory, then yes, there are singularities.-Martin

          Change that to “. . .then yes, singularities are predicted.”

          That’s why I have mentioned Charles’ Law.
          Any time that empirical investigation has been possible, math equations which model physical reality have failed to be correct under extreme conditions. The object at the center of a black hole would be an example of extreme conditions.

          Newton’s laws of motion have failed.
          Charles’ Law concerning gas volumes has failed.

          Why would we expect any different results from Einstein’s equations ?

          There are no math equations that can perfectly predict any real-world phenomenon.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          yes, newton’s laws of motion failed, but not completely and in interesting ways nobody could have thought of beforehand (oh, i wish i could make such a mistake …). in the same way you could say that maxwell’s equations are a failure because they didn’t predict a particulate nature of light (and made the stability of matter a pressing problem), while those equations were the reason for einstein to develop his special theory of relativity, which in turn was not only in conflict which newtonian kinematics but also with newton’s theory of gravitation. this conflict was then a conceptual reason for einstein to develop a relativistic theory of gravitation, culminating in his field equation (an epitome of mathematical elegance). could it be wrong? yes. we *know that*, in fact. general relativity is in a conflict with quantum theory, another successful theory or framework (every damn popular science book or documentary mentions it). something has to give. btw, if you think the singularities in general relativity are bad look up the infinities in quantum field theory (really, this theory has no right to be so successful).

        • Chuck Johnson

          It is obvious to me that Hooke’s Law is merely a good approximation.
          Outside of the elastic limit, however, it becomes a bad approximation.

          I do not expect Einstein’s equations to be true under all physical conditions. Those equations are just one more layer of improvement on top of Newton’s equations.

          Since that is what science keeps on showing us, that is what we should expect to keep on seeing.

          http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          It is obvious to me that Hooke’s Law is merely a good approximation.

          to me too, that’s why i mentioned it. sometimes it’s obvious, because the math is simple and you have some intuition (experience with) how things should work, and in other cases (like general relativity) it’s not, mere plausiblity arguments or ad hoc hypotheses aren’t enough. as i said somewhere else: we do know that einstein’s theory and quantum theory cannot both be correct. something has to give. if this will result in the elimination of singularities i don’t know, but given how difficult this turned out to be i’m somewhat skeptical about that, and we’ll have to learn to live with some “singular behavior” or, for that matter, with a physical reality described by “approximations” upon “approximations” (feynman’s onion), as is our everyday reality anyway (heuristics, rules of thumb, …).

        • Chuck Johnson

          Any math or science which predicts that a singularity can become a three-dimensional object, or that a three-dimensional object can become a singularity is obviously incorrect.

          This goes along with my own observation that there are no math equations which perfectly describe any phenomenon in the real world. Under extreme conditions, such formulas always become incorrect and fail to predict what would happen in the extreme conditions.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Those theorems show that under rather general conditions are singularities unavoidable (in general relativity). -Martin

          To calculate a result of infinite density and zero volume requires the use of faulty math techniques.

          We are told to never do math calculations using infinity as an actual number. We are also told to never divide a number by zero (infinity will result).

          Is that what is happening when these singularities become “unavoidable” ?

          Charles’ Law is a simple math formula which predicts a singularity as gas temperatures reach absolute zero.

          But since real gas molecules are being observed, the contraction of the gas volume with lowering temperature becomes nonlinear long before absolute zero is reached.

          Nothing like a singularity actually gets produced by cooling real gas molecules.

          Just as Newton’s laws of motion are seen to become incorrect at relativistic speeds, all equations which predict singularities will be shown to be incorrect as conditions become extreme.

          That’s the way our physical universe really works.
          The fancy math equations always turn out to be merely approximations of physical reality.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles%27s_law

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          the math is fine. it’s not the job of mathematicians to limit their models or formulas to particular applications, be it physics or something else.

          you even find singularities in newtonian physics (not of the same kind as in general relativity, obviously). often the bodies in newtonian mechanics are represented as points (at the center of mass, say) and the size or extension of those bodies can sometimes be ignorend or “abstracted away” (say, you don’t have any physical principles telling you how small, or dense things can be, or you don’t even know much about real atoms … that’s for later when physicists started to worry about the gravitational collapse of stars and how to model it).

          in this way of fomulating newtonian mechanics you have the “obvious singularities”: collisions (or a “division by zero” in newton’s force law), and the not so obvious ones: noncollision singularties (see the painlev conjecture, which is older than even special relativity, btw). obviously newton’s law of motion doesn’t describe reality … *after* two actually extended objects collide.

          in the case of charles’s law, a special case of the *ideal* gas law one can interpret the temperature at V = 0 as a theoretical *lower bound* for temperature (because *negative* volumes don’t make sense), at least as far as *this* law is concerned. it’s not obvious that there should be one if you don’t know about the (now obvious) relationship between the average kinetic energy and temperature, say (then one has to be careful with particles “at rest”, no kinetic energy, when quantum mechanics becomes important).

        • Chuck Johnson

          Also, one can even find singularities in Newtonian mechanics (not of the same kind as in general relativity, obviously).-Martin

          Singularities are no problem in Newtonian mechanics because they are not asserted to contain mass, matter or three dimensional objects.

          Singularities are not appropriate in those cosmological stories which claim that mass, matter and three-dimensional objects emerged from a singularity.

          Singularities only exist as ideas. They do not exist as objects in the real world. They are just thoughts.

          Every object or thing in the real world occupies three dimensions.
          Empiricism shows us this.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          the point particles *have* mass in newtonian mechanics (i don’t know what it means to “contain” mass. mass is a physical property, not an object itself). in the case of newtonian mechanics we have a nice interpretation of those point particles, by using the center of mass of extended objects as the location for those point particles (with the mass of the extended object, modelled as continuum or as a set of point particles with fixed distances relative to each other), and for any singular behaviour (the objects are actually extended). the interpretation in the case of general relativity is not that simple.

          it doesn’t matter if you think those singularities are appropriate or not (again, most physicists would like to get rid of those singularities), they are there in the theory. it doesn’t help to wish them away. also, the usual story is not so much that everything “emerged from a singularity”, this might be the thing you read in popular science books, but that, when we trace the dynamics backwards, we end up with a singularity. anything past the singularity (t > 0) is fine, depending on the energies involved and how far we think we understand high-energy particle physics (that’s why the experiments of the LHC are sometimes described as “probing the big bang”).

        • Chuck Johnson

          Newtonian mechanics never asserts that massive three-dimensional things emerge from a singularity.

          Newtonian mechanics just asserts that mechanical calculations can be simplified if we work with a “center of mass” instead of an entire bulky three-dimensional object.

          The two uses of “singularity” are quite different.

        • Chuck Johnson

          The math is fine.-Martin

          Yes, the math is fine. It’s the equation which is incorrect.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          i don’t care if you think “the equation” is incorrect as long as you cannot tell me how it’s incorrect (no, some ad hoc hypotheses about ultimate bounds on size or density are not enough). then you’d have to verify your alternative (that’s the difficult bit). opinions are cheap.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I told you.
          You are not paying attention.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          and i told you that’s not enough (not for me, anyway). theists also tell me a lot of things, that god supposedly solves all the problems, for example. that’s also not enough for very similar reasons.

        • Chuck Johnson

          My comments to you emphasize empiricism.
          Your comments support a universe emerging from something which has no physical reality (a singularity).

          Your superstition and your blind obedience to authority are showing.
          Most sciences are not similar to religions, but cosmology is an exception. It is full of pseudoscience, and you are buying into that.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          my “blind obedience to authority” would show if i simply accept what you tell me. yes, i admire the work of einstein (now even more than before i knew any details), but that’s not based on some popular account of nice stories about free falling elevators and riding on beams of light. i actually tried to understand the mathematics (worthwhile and necessary, even if the physics should turn out to be wrong) and why he thought the way he did besides the mathenatics (also, to just take his word for it isn’t very interesting, surprisingly). it’s anything but blind. if einstein isn’t a an authority when it comes to general relativity (or penrose, hawking, …) i don’t know who would be an authority (including you).

        • Chuck Johnson

          Imagine you (or Newton) simply don’t have any physical principles telling you how small or dense things can be (even if you think there should be a bound).-Martin

          Science has yet to discover how small and dense things can be with one exception.

          Asserting that matter or energy can exist with zero volume is an absurdity. It cannot happen.

          This is because with no room to contain properties, characteristics, information, etc. that tiny point in space could have no properties.

          Since all singularities are only thoughts, they are massless.
          The only thing that distinguishes one singularity from another is its location.

          All of these problems and contradictions vanish when it is understood that black holes and Big Bangs emerge from highly dense objects having a volume greater than zero.

          “Highly dense” is good enough to explain the phenomena.
          “Infinitely dense” would have no patterns, details or information present which would be needed to generate the atoms, photons, etc. which characterize a collection of three-dimensional objects.

          Without specific characteristics, nothing can exist.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          “Highly dense” is good enough to explain the phenomena.

          well, that’s more or less what we do when we begin with the *hot* big bang (at t > 0 or after an inflationary phase), with something “highly dense”. otherwise it’s just replacing one unknown for another. as long as we don’t know a physical mechanism which would prevent the ultimate collapse of a star, while also explaining the observations of astronomical black holes, or some proper substitute for the initial singularity, it doesn’t solve the problem at all.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Detailing the phenomena using math equations is the proper scientific method as long as empiricism can verify the results.

          When the equations are used to predict conditions where scientific observation cannot venture, then “I don’t know.” or “The equation predicts.” are the right phrases to use.

          The history of science is a long series of surprises.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          oh yes, i love the history of science. it’s like a good detective story.

          i find it ironic that you introduce “highly dense” things, which, for now, were not only not “verified by empiricism” but also have no proper theoretical basis, in contrast to those pesky singularities (well, in the context of hawking radiation do some people speculate that ultimately there is some remnant left after a black hole radiated away, and there are open questions about hawking radiation and information, so there is hope. yes, there are speculative ideas which try to avoid singularities, but i don’t know much about those attempts).

        • Chuck Johnson

          Variations in density have been empirically observed by science for centuries.

          The compression of gasses shows variations in the density of a gas sample.

          Uranium is more dense than most other chemical elements.
          A neutron star is far denser than that.

          A mirage in the desert shows a variation in air density.

          Scientists have no reason to doubt large variations in the density of matter and energy.

          There are good reasons to doubt that a real-world object can have zero volume and infinite density.

          Infinite density is not just a further increase in density.
          It is in a completely different category than “extremely dense”.
          It is dense without a number to indicate its density.

          Ascribing infinite characteristics to any real-world phenomenon is a mistake. The only exception is that we should assume that our universe is infinite in size and in time until we see evidence to the contrary.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          There are good reasons to doubt that a real-world object can have zero volume and infinite density.

          well, thankfully we only have those singularities in the past (initial singularity) or in the future (black hole singularities, behind an event horizon, at least if the cosmic censorship hypothesis is correct). both means that for many things we don’t have to deal with the existence of those singularities. the only context where it is important, for now, is in solving the theortical and conceptual problems in trying to unify general relativity and quantum mechanics (to develop a quantum theory of gravity). practically it is important because we have those scenarios where both theories should play a role. if we didn’t had evidence of black holes or the big bang, then those singularities, the schwartzschild solution, the kerr solution, and so on, would be mathematical curiosities and we could just be satisfied with two theories, each with their own domain of validity. sadly that’s not in the cards.

          once, in physics, we pretty much assumed that the universe is infinite in space and time. then the olbers’ paradox showed that the assumption of those infinities could have observational consequences. now we don’t, at the outset, assume that space is necessarily infinite (if it is then it always was infinite) or even that time is infinite into the future (for that is penrose’s cyclic cosmology an interesting subject, or the speculations about a “big rip”). that’s one advantage of spacetimes which are subject to dynamical laws (something einstein didn’t like, originally) over newton’s absolute space and time: it made cosmology a scientific discipline.

        • Chuck Johnson

          The detailed knowledge that we have about matter and energy derive from the enormous amount of empirical data that has been gathered.
          This includes successful equations and theories.

          The difficulty in developing a quantum theory of gravity is related to the lack of scientific experiments and observations which have been made to discover the properties of gravity.

          Consider the possibility that contrary to Newton’s equations, gravity is not linearly proportional to mass. It is only (apparently) linearly proportional within the range of measurements that science can so far accomplish.

          This might figure into cosmic Big Bang type explosions.

          All of the equations to describe the behavior of matter and energy seem to be less than perfect. Why should we expect perfect behavior from Newton’s equations concerning gravity ?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          nobody expected a “pefect behavior” from newton’s equations. since their inception they were problematic, in some sense. they didn’t had to wait for a precise enough measurement of the precession of the perihelion of mercury to doubt newton’s theory. there were more philosophical objections having to do with mechanical philosophy (i guess you’d like those objections). they had roughly to do with the idea that mere equations (and no material hypotheses about the force of gravity, newton’s “hypotheses non fingo”) aren’t enough of an explanation (newton explicitly argues against descartes’ vortices in the general scholium). for more technical objections early on look up the three-body problem and newton’s attempt to describe the motion of the moon with his theory (the original three-body problem: sun-earth-moon). it took quite a while before all this, the math, was understood,

        • Chuck Johnson

          Not held by me.

    • Max Doubt

      “What if the scientist is an atheist?”

      What if the scientist is a Christian?

      “Wouldn’t an atheist be saying it then?”

      Wouldn’t a Christian be saying it then?

      “What about the atheist that are inclined to agree with said scientists because it fits their worldview?”

      What about the Christians who are inclined to agree with said scientists because the current consensus view is physically plausible, objectively fits all the data we do have without neglecting any of it, and doesn’t contradict any of that data, hence making it the best explanation we have so far? Wouldn’t that be Christians applying reason and intellect to arrive at a tentative conclusion which is contrary to where your ignorance and incredulity take you?

  • Paul

    ““Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”
    — Stephen Hawking

    “This is just an Argument from Authority. Hawking is a smart guy, but just because he said it doesn’t make it true.”
    — Bob Seidensticker

    Amen to that, Bob. The universe would have to exist first in order to create itself, which is illogical. But what if there was a law like gravity? Gravity is a description of how matter behaves, not a causal explanation.

    • epeeist

      The universe would have to exist first in order to create itself, which is illogical.

      Nope, geometry is sufficient.

      Gravity is a description of how matter behaves, not a causal explanation.

      Nope, gravity is a force that causes matter to move in a particular way.

      • Paul

        “geometry is sufficient.”

        Where did the geometry come from? How would geometry cause the universe to come into existence.

        “gravity is a force that causes matter to move in a particular way”

        But there would have to be matter for the gravity to act upon. So again, the universe can’t create itself.

        • Hans-Richard Grümm

          The universe can be eternal, or exist uncaused. Isn’t that exactly what you claim for your God ?

        • Chuck Johnson

          They also claim astounding insight, knowledge and wisdom for their God.
          But after God is finished talking to them, they seem to be pretty much as clueless as ever.

      • Halbe

        Nope, gravity is a force that causes spacetime to curve in certain ways. (Newton is dead, long live Einstein :-))

        • epeeist

          Whoops, rather a large typo there.

          Yes, it should have been gravity,

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Nobody says that the universe created itself. They certainly do say that there’s no reason to imagine anything but a natural cause (since that’s been the case for everything that has been explained).

    • ThaneOfDrones

      But what if there was a law like gravity? Gravity is a description of how matter behaves, not a causal explanation.

      Is gravity a law that exists if itself, or is it a property of matter?

    • Chuck Johnson

      Gravity is two things (at least).
      The law of gravity is a scientific discovery or perception made by humans.
      Gravity is a natural force of attraction which existed long before any humans existed.

      Properly defining your words helps to reduce confusion and to promote insight.

  • Grimlock

    I watched this film. I did not do so sober.

    • Paul H.

      You made my afternoon!

      • Paul H.

        Woah…i see there’s another Paul posting. I’m definitely not that guy. Added a “H” to my name to differentiate

        • Otto

          I know how you feel…I get mixed up with Otto the Goat

        • Greg G.

          I have been confused with Gr*g, the fake lawyer.

        • Kodie

          That’s why I still always call you Greg G. (when I call you by name), and why I also prefer that people remember “codygirl” is actually Jenna Black.

        • Susan

          Gr*g the fake lawyer

          You mean B*telg*us?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yeah, but that’s cheating!

  • Paul

    “Weigh the
    evidence and choose the best explanation.”

    To summarize the evidence: The universe and everything in it.
    Like I’ve said before, the evidence will be interpreted through one’s worldview.

    Explanations for the existence of the evidence (based on one’s worldview):
    1) God created it.
    2) Blind, unguided, natural processes created it over billions of years.

    feel free to add to the list:
    3)
    4)

    • Maine_Skeptic

      Why are you defending this movie? Even most Christians are embarrassed by its Fox News approach to the subject matter.

      • Paul

        I never said I was defending the movie.

        • TheNuszAbides

          which is clever phrasing if you are avoiding admitting that you might even seriously consider to begin to defend the movie; otherwise, laughably un-clever phrasing.

    • epeeist

      The universe could be eternal, or it could have been created by a race of super-intelligent aliens, or the god of the sentient free-floating gas bags that live on an unnamed planet in IOK-1 could have created it, or our descendants could have travelled back along a closed time-like curve and created it in order to ensure that we and hence they exist, or we could be living in a simulation, or I may be the only thing that actually exists and you are all figments of my imagination.

      Or possibly all our suppositions are wrong and there is another mechanism for which we do not as yet have evidence or the intelligence to understand. Safer then to simply say, we don’t know but we are working on it.

    • Paul H.

      “Explanations for the existence of the evidence (based on one’s worldview):”
      1) God created it.
      2) Blind, unguided, natural processes created it over billions of years.

      You are simply presenting a dumb downed version of the Watchmaker argument here. That argument has been debunked so many times since William Paley published it in 1802 (yes, that’s eighteen zero two).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHmjHMbkOUM

      • Michael Neville

        David Hume refuted the Watchmaker argument in a book published posthumously in 1776. The argument wasn’t original with Paley and, to his credit, he never claimed it was. Aquinas used the argument.

        • Kevin K

          And I do believe Aquinas got the argument from Aristotle. So…if it hasn’t convinced us after 3500 years of trying, I’m perplexed as to why it should suddenly become persuasive.

        • Greg G.

          if it hasn’t convinced us after 3500 years of trying

          Are you saying Aristotle got it from pTsomething of SomewhereInEgypt?

        • Kevin K

          Most likely. There’s nothing new under the sun.

        • TheNuszAbides

          except for that new stuff over th–dammit, why does the sun always set when i do that?!

    • Joe

      3) Processes that are becoming increasingly well understood made its formation possible. Possibly inevitable

      It’s not only a question of worldview but how a person came to have a worldview, and how resistant is that worldview to new information. This is about facts, not opinions.

    • Susan

      The universe and everything in it.

      Please provide a comprehensive list.

      1) God created it.

      Ill-defined term with no cohesive model and no supporting evidence.

      2) Blind, unguided, natural processes created it over billions of years.

      Cohesive models based on clearly defined terms with mountains of supporting evidence.

      That’s a tough one.

      • Paul

        “Please provide a comprehensive list.”

        Request denied. If you want to write up a comprehensive list of everything in the universe then knock yourself out. I’ll summarize it instead.

        • Greg G.

          So it’s just one thing then. You look at the universe, say “godidit”, then say that the universe is evidence that godidit. You need to flesh that out.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8828ce6d71de55e8f52057c763a38cadfff074caee249f7a544f2d99bf39768e.png

        • Paul

          “So it’s just one thing then.”

          Nope. Try reading it again: The universe and everything in it. I also mentioned that I was summarizing the evidence. How could you possibly conclude that I was only talking about one thing?

        • Greg G.

          How could you possibly conclude that I was only talking about one thing?

          “The universe and everything in it” is the universe.

        • Max Doubt

          “How could you possibly conclude that I was only talking about one thing?”

          See Greg G.’s reply below (… or above). Do you feel a little stupid having to be reminded that the universe is everything in it? So you made a mistake. It’ll be okay. It only becomes stupidity and/or dishonesty if you don’t correct that mistake in the future. You’re welcome.

        • Susan

          Request denied.

          Then, don’t submit it as evidence.

          I’ll summarize it instead.

          That’s very different.

          But please, go ahead and do so.

        • Paul

          “Then, don’t submit it as evidence.”

          Request denied again.

          “But please, go ahead and do so.”

          OK, I resubmit the universe and everything in it as evidence.

        • Michael Neville

          The universe and everything in it is evidence that the universe exists. It is not evidence that an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal god created it. Try again, this time put some thought behind your evidence.

        • Max Doubt

          “OK, I resubmit the universe and everything in it as evidence.”

          The existence of the universe and everything in it is, given the standards you’ve described, evidence that I created the universe and everything in it. Interesting how we have exactly the same evidence that I have greater powers and abilities than your god, isn’t it? Or do you have evidence that your god can do something I can’t do?

        • Susan

          Request denied again.

          It’s not a request. Handwaving is not evidence. I was just suggesting you not bother handwaving.

          OK, I resubmit the universe and everything in it as evidence.

          But your promised us a summary.

          Instead of providing one, you’ve hit the reset button.

    • sandy

      “Like I’ve said before, the evidence will be interpreted through one’s worldview.”

      You are correct Paul…however just replace “worldview” with “indoctrination.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Let’s see … every explanation so far has been naturalistic, so I think I’ll give priority to naturalistic explanations. There’s no evidence for God, so I’m not even going to bother with that one.

      • Paul

        “There’s no evidence for God.”

        I’d say a better way for you to phrase that is “I see no evidence for God.” Like I said, we all have the exact same evidence. Your worldview is going to influence how you evaluated the evidence. I happen to see evidence for God. What evidence? The same exact evidence that you look at.

        • Greg G.

          Right. The people who say they have evidence for God can only point to the universe which is evidence for that the universe exists, but not for God.

        • MR

          We have a body showing no trauma, no evidence of a struggle, no weapon, no footprints, nothing that shows up in the toxicology report, nothing unusual in the autopsy…. Yet we’re going to assume a murder? Many suspects: the Christian god, the Islamic god, Buddhist god, the Greek pantheon, the Sumerian pantheon, aliens…. the obvious cause of death is natural causes, but, no, we’re to assume a murder, and we’re to assume the culprit was the Christian god because of someone’s “worldview.”

          Seems to me there’s a false equivalence here.

        • MNb

          An even better phrase is “evidence for God by definition is impossible”. Because evidence by definition is derived from our natural reality and your god is supposed to reside in an also supposed supernatural reality. Hence from evidence to your god always requires a salto mortale; no believer ever has tried to justify it. You confirm that with “I happen to see”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll accept your version.

          What is the primary evidence that you see for God? Is it anything that would convince someone else?

        • Max Doubt

          “I’d say a better way for you to phrase that is “I see no evidence for God.” Like I said, we all have the exact same evidence.”

          You’ve said your “evidence” for the existence of a god is, “The universe and everything in it.” The existence of something is not evidence for any particular cause or reason for its existence. Your worldview apparently allows you to be utterly unconcerned with what is true. You interpret your “evidence” in a wholly unreasonable way.

          “Your worldview is going to influence how you evaluated the evidence. I happen to see evidence for God. What evidence? The same exact evidence that you look at.”

          What you consider evidence for the existence of a god equally supports the notion that I did/caused/created the universe and everything in it. Given your abysmally ridiculous standard for “evidence” you can’t possibly know – if you’re honest – that I didn’t create the universe and everything in it.

          Do you have the honesty to admit that’s true? I’m betting against it. Surprise me?

        • Kodie

          You say things like having a worldview, i.e. a bias, is not a dishonest way of looking at the evidence. Your bias is going to influence you to see things that aren’t there.

    • Max Doubt

      “To summarize the evidence: The universe and everything in it.”

      The mere existence of something doesn’t in any way point to an explanation for its existence.

      “Like I’ve said before, the evidence will be interpreted through one’s worldview.”

      If you’re interpreting evidence in a way that supports what you already believe, you’re not being objective.

      “Explanations for the existence of the evidence (based on one’s worldview):
      1) God created it.
      2) Blind, unguided, natural processes created it over billions of years.

      feel free to add to the list:…”

      3) Nothing created it in any way that makes the word “created” an accurate description.
      4) I created it.

      Objectively we have more evidence to support the notion that I created it than we have for the notion that some god created it. Objectively. That means regardless of your worldview.

    • Chuck Johnson

      3) Over billions of years, processes guided by mutation and selection pressure created life on Earth.
      Such processes also created the ignorance, foolishness and dishonesty of Paul because Paul is an example of life on Earth.

    • MNb

      “the evidence will be interpreted through one’s worldview.”
      Sure. One problem with you though is that your view is limited by huge blinkers. Hence your view is even narrower than the view of these horses:

      http://fscomps.fotosearch.com/compc/CSP/CSP796/k7969255.jpg

  • Greg G.

    Off topic, a different movie anyway, but has anyone seen Blade Runner 2049? I noticed the cause of death for someone in the movie was “Galatians Syndrome”. No clue about it given.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=NdTqjK_-2IEC&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=galatians+syndrome&source=bl&ots=a22IXT7UD4&sig=h167eUF_kX19GV5zdP8b2kfqdJA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXrpTLm-rWAhWIsVQKHYoEDJ4Q6AEIQDAE#v=onepage&q=galatians%20syndrome&f=false has a “Galatian Syndrome” which is described as doubting one’s relationship with God as in Galatians 1:6-7.

    Perhaps it is about Galatians 5:12 about going the whole way and emasculating oneself. It does have something to do with sort of a sex change in the movie. That comes to mind but I haven’t gone over the epistle with the syndrome in mind yet.

    Thoughts and speculations?

    • Otto

      My wife had never seen the original so I made her watch it last weekend.

      • Aram

        Ah, but which version?

        • Otto

          Good question, The final cut.

        • Aram

          I also thought that one ended up being the best.

    • TheNuszAbides

      “doubting one’s relationship with God” would be sufficiently on point, i think, with a Tyrell or Wallace [by]product having concerns about authenticity of memory, or incompatibility of free will, or how one’s mother could have possibly … y’know.
      whether or not anyone looking out or in might or might not think of ‘God’ as a metaphor for Tyrell or Wallace … or vice versa.

  • Jim Babwe

    It seems like someone took Formal Logic 101 and couldn’t get over their professor using the Problem of Evil as an example of a valid argument . . .

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Jim: Thanks for your comments, though i’m not sure I’m following. I do indeed think that the PoE is a valid argument (though i think that the Problem of Divine Hiddenness is worse for Christianity). Share with us where it fails.

      This doesn’t do much to respond to the post. Or were you on board with it?

      • Paul

        ” i think that the Problem of Divine Hiddenness is worse for Christianity”

        So basically you’re saying that God is the best “hider” in the game of Hide and Seek?
        But it could also be, and much more likely, that you’re the worst “seeker” in the game of Hide and Seek.

        • Greg G.

          The problem is that you have to assume God is playing Hide and Seek for ineffable reasons.

        • Paul

          It’s not MY problem. I don’t think God is playing Hide and Seek.

        • Kodie

          Every time you have to redefine god or explain away why god is not immediately obvious, like nature or free will or whatever, you’re hiding god from us – OR, you’re making shit up, repeating made-up shit, talking about your imaginary friend like he’s real, threatening us but pretending it’s not you, it’s “god”, and it’s a product of the power of suggestion, proving you the gullible one. If god exists, why does he need a dim bulb like you trying to explain that he exists? I’m sure he could do a much better job of it if he existed.

        • Michael Neville

          So where is your god? I don’t see hide nor hair of him, her, it or them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the beauty of being an omnipresent ninja of colocation is never having to say you’re sorry. nor “peek-a-boo!”

        • Greg G.

          If God is playing Hide and Seek, he is winning big time in the game but leaving lots of questions, like the existence of suffering. If God is not playing some type of Hide and Seek, then he doesn’t exist, which eliminates the Problem of Suffering.

        • TheNuszAbides

          so go preach to the deists.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, I’m saying that the god of Christianity wouldn’t be playing hide and seek with us at all. That Christians have to apologize for his absence makes clear that their claims don’t hold up.

        • Max Doubt

          “So basically you’re saying that God is the best “hider” in the game of Hide and Seek?”

          If that is the case, then hiding seems to be the only thing your god can do better than I can. It does such a great job of hiding that it’s alleged existence is indistinguishable from not even existing at all. Other than that, of course, I can do anything your god can do plus several things your god quite apparently can’t. A god like that, objectively less capable than a normal mortal human, seem rather useless.

          “But it could also be, and much more likely,…”

          Is that likelihood based on a comparison of objective evidence that you’re withholding, or would that likelihood be the kind you pull out of your ass because it sounds more emphatic?

          “… that you’re the worst “seeker” in the game of Hide and Seek.”

          Sounds like you’ve reduced your god to something that exists but can’t do anything I can’t do. Oh, other than make itself indistinguishable from non-existent. And it plays hide-n-seek. Again, that seems like a pretty useless god.

      • TheNuszAbides

        i’m no Poefinder-General, but i’m pretty sure he’s referring to the ‘brainparent’ of the movie.

        one of Jim’s recent gems:

        Weather is just a Chinese hoax. The government only wants you to evacuate so globalist (((Mexicans))) can sneak into your house to introduce a new experimental type of psychoactive mold that will turn your kids gay and make you vote Democrat. #resist

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          That guy sounds like a keeper.

          Thanks for your interpretation. I think you got a lot closer than I did.